Be Green Challenge
We are into the second week of this challenge and I’m having a great time while my classmates are suffering. Some of the girls in my class can’t wait for this challenge to be over and go shop until they drop. We had a very interesting lecture especially when Professor Valverde explained her relationship with Chau Huynh and their meeting. I finally know the deeper meaning of Huynh’s three pedicure basins and the flag artwork. I had no clue that it was such a big deal and the Nguoi Viet Daily newspaper had to fire and hire new editors for three whole years after they published Huynh’s artwork. Also I learned that many Vietnamese worked around the clock to create anti-Huynh artworks and do all this protesting. This is a great example that showed how powerful textiles can be and I learned a valuable lesson.
|Chau Huynh’s Famous Three Basins Artwork|
After I read “Speaking through Cloth” by Ava McCall under week 7 reading, I was pretty shocked to learn that Hmong fist arrived to US in 1980. I thought Hmong came to US in the 1960s or 1970s right around the Vietnam War time. One thing I know for sure is that Hmong are the least educated refugees and have the least amount of skills so they faced more prejudice and discrimination at work and schools. I thought Hmong wrote down their cultural stories in books and papers but I was wrong. After I read McCall’s article, I learned that Hmong culture is mostly oral culture. Elders passed down their stories to young children orally. These children even did sewing for a living so I was thinking they’re like children in China working at sweatshops at such a young age. These young children sell their artworks that they sewed for half the price of the real price. As part of this be green challenge, consumers need to read labels carefully before they buy anything from anywhere to make sure the products they’re buying is free of child labor. Personally, I’m seeing that most of the items we use every day are made by children in developing countries and yet people don’t care.
I found a great article about Hmong clothing from Shields Library database and its called Miao/Hmong in the United States by Mary Chaney. This article explained in details about Hmong traditional clothing and what some of the decoration means in detailed. For the first time in my life, I learned that there are three different types of Hmong and they are white, green, and blue. They each have their own different ways of wearing collars to distinguish themselves. I learned from this article about how important sewing is in Hmong culture and how women are judged by their sewing skills before marriage. The sad thing for me is that Hmong wanted to fit into American society in US so they started to dress like their peers and Hmong traditional clothing started to disappear. They even had to make changes to Hmong special occasion dress to fit into US society.
Hmong wearing their traditional clothing in Wisconsin, USA
After I read “Creating Identity” by professor Valverde I was stunned to learn that some Vietnamese like Chau Huynh support the communist leader Ho Chi Minh. In fact I was shocked that there are many Vietnamese that supports Ho Chi Minh. Ever since I became an ASA major, I always thought Ho Chi Minh was the bad guy that everyone hates from Vietnam. Chau did an artwork with three pedicure basins to pay a tribute to her mother in law who is her hero. Chau’s mother in law worked at a nail shop for 20 years washing feet, sent all of her kids to college and sent some money back to her family in Vietnam. This artwork was published in Nguoi Viet Daily and viewers were outraged and protested. They even said it showed lack of respect for the memory of a lost country. I think Chau have every right to publish her artwork and people need to do research and actually find out what it means before getting violent. I can’t believe this whole anti-Huynh artworks and protest lasted so many years.
Famous Communist Leader Ho Chi Minh
Chaney, Mary. “Miao/Hmong in the United States.” Berg Fashion Encyclopedia. September
McCall, Ava. “Speaking Through Cloth: Teaching Hmong History and Culture Through
Textile Arts.” From class reader.
Valverde, Kieu-Linh. “Creating Identity, Defining Culture, and Making History from an
Art Exhibit: An Unfinished Story: A Tribute to my Mothers.” From class reader.